It has been some time since I last wrote about my work on „Ralin – Dwarf wars“. This is partially, because I haven’t written that much stuff that is definitely going to end up in the game yet. A lot of the plot and overall story is still in discussion and is thus not really complete yet. Since it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to write about things that are not definite yet, I just didn’t write about it.
One aspect is pretty much in a finished state: The pantheon and belief system. When you designing a fantasy setting, designing religions and gods is an integral part to the writing process. While it is not among the first things I designed for the game, it became necessary when different versions of the plot were pitched. For this game, I sort of had to take a more unique approach to the topic of religion: As the game focuses on dwarves, I had to create a pantheon that makes sense for dwarves.
I decided to go with polytheism, since you can have more than two different entities (good and evil) and thus create a more diverse culture. The gods and goddesses all portray certain aspects of the dwarven tropes, so of course you have a god for smithing, one for mining and one for beer. It seems a bit easy, but really, if you think about it, a lot of belief-systems are designed to be compatible with every day life and this should be the case with dwarves too. It’s also very self-explanatory, why the dwarves would have these gods and goddesses: They correspond to the aspects of life they actually care about.
I also included a system of avatars: Every god has one avatar per generation. This is a dwarf that is in direct contact with the god in question and can act upon his or her whishes. This may sound a bit weird, but if you want to have gods take some kind of part in your plot, this makes a lot of sense. If we choose to make one god the villain, we would have one major problem: gods are immortal and thus make for terrible villains. If you have a mortal representing the god, it makes for an excellent foe, as he or she stands for a greater concept, but can be smashed by a hammer.
But designing the gods is only half the work: You also have to think about how dwarves prey to their gods. While creating shrines and churches would be one possible way to go about this, I chose a more simple approach: Dwarves prey to their gods via songs (mostly while they are really, really drunk). This is a great idea in my eyes, since I can actually write some of these songs and they can be included in the gameplay (you don’t need separate story sequences focusing on their belief system).
I hope that next time I write about Ralin, I can tell you a bit more about the plot and maybe about the gods themselves. Hope you enjoyed this post!